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Preparing for Christmas Eve

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We are starting to prepare for our holiday festivities and all the craziness that is about to ensue. You see, with four generations living under one roof, the holidays are a little more “involved.” -ha. Some of you may know that we have partnered with TYLENOL ® this year to celebrate all families and to share with you “how we family” and what we do that makes our little spot here on the planet special. Today I am sharing our Christmas tradition (s) that have been passed down from generation to generation and how I have put a little twist on them since becoming a mom myself.

This post was sponsored by TylenolI have received information about #HowWeFamily from the makers of TYLENOL ® .  All opinions and words are 100% my own.

Preparing for Christmas Eve

(Our Christmas picture from last year)

You see, growing up as a kid, we always spent Christmas Day at my grandparents (the ones who live with me now) house and Christmas Eve was spent at my house where my mom always prepared a big traditional dinner.

Christmas Eve was always our “big” Christmas and the house was filled with extended family.

We opened the majority of our gifts Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day, we were always looking forward to stocking stuffers from Santa.

Preparing for Christmas Eve

Since we moved in to my parents home over 8 years ago, we decided to change up the Christmas traditions and add a new twist. My husband is catholic and grew up in Boston in a large Italian family (6 kids total) and they celebrated the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

My husband’s mom was the center of his family and kept everyone together and when she died over 12 years ago, his family kind of dispersed all over the country and the large family holiday gatherings were over.

It’s kind of sad actually.

Everyone moved away from Massachusetts with the exception of one of his sisters and life as my husband knew it with his family was kind of over.

Preparing for Christmas Eve

(My husband’s parents)

He missed the Christmas Eve celebration and wanted his kids to still have the experience he had growing up as a kid.


(me preparing food last Christmas Eve)

SO, yours truly started a new tradition, in conjunction with my mom’s Christmas Eve celebration.  We added in the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I am protestant and didn’t know much about the tradition so I had to become educated! -ha.

I remember 8 years ago asking my mom if she minded me adding 7 FISH dishes to her Christmas Eve menu and her response was, “as long as you are cooking them all!” – haha.

Preparing for Christmas Eve

(me and my momma)

So while the tradition for my husband is a bit different because many of his siblings don’t live in the area anymore, his kids are growing up with an amazing holiday season filled with love, laughter and ridiculously good food!

I’ll be honest, my extended family kind of digs the fish spread too :).

Preparing for Christmas Eve

(an old picture I found of the Haddock Dish)

So how does all this work?

Well a week before Christmas Eve, I prepare my menu on paper and create a huge shopping list for the Seven Fish Dinners and my mom, prepares her shopping list for the traditional foods like a turkey or ham along with side dishes.

She also prepares all of the desserts.

Here is one of the Salmon Dishes I usually prepare. This recipe is SO easy to make!

Preparing for Christmas Eve

The festivities usually begin with friends and family arriving at 5pm on Christmas Eve and at that point, chaos ensues. -ha. You can imagine the rest from there ;).

It takes about 2 or 3 days of preparing the food before hand and about 2 or 3 days to recover after. haha.

Preparing for Christmas Eve

(Christmas Eve)

While this may not be the norm for many families, it’s our normal and honestly, it’s a blending of religions, traditions and setting an example for the kids that family is just that, “family.”

You can read our other #howwefamily stories by checking out our “family boat ride” and our “Fall family apple picking tradition.” 

We would love to hear what your holiday traditions are so please share below in the comment section.


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Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. Oh my you poor thing. I grew up in CT Italian, catholic. My parents were first generation Americans. We ALWAYS got together on Xmas eve and did the seven fishes, homemade pasta and desserts. Homemade cannoli. But same thing my Nonna died, her sister Zizzi too k it over, when she died. That was it! I keep the Italian traditions alive with my daughters and now Grandson. Very sad statement about Italian families without the matriarch the families disperse. My sisters and I have not spent a holiday together in 21 years. My sisters in CT don’t even speak. Very sad, my mom also has very developed dementia, so I love reading and enjoy you and your family. Happy holidays!

    1. Oh wow Leanne! So sorry to hear that about your family. Unfortunately it seems more common than not to have this happen. BUT you just do the best you can and create new memories for the new generation 🙂 Happy holidays!!!

    2. I didn’t get know my Italian grandparents. Nona died the year I was born and Nono couple of years later. However the 6 kids made Christmas a family affair every year on Christmas day. Christmas Eve was church and home with family. I had so much fun with all the aunts, uncles and cousins! We never did the 7 fish. I wonder if it is the difference in what part of Italy you came from or difference if Catholic and Protestant. When one uncle died there was some ensuing differences about his will and it caused a huge rift in the family and ended the family holidays. Miss those times. ?

      1. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 Sounds like you have some wonderful memories growing up!

  2. Juanita in OH says:

    The family looks soooooooo happy, the photo exudes the phrase “the more the merrier”. It would me so wonderful if you could teach the world to follow your plan. The house looks beautiful. TFS and giving me your blessings each day.

  3. Beautiful family! Hope your new tradition will give your husband some Christmas Peace ! God Bless !

  4. Love your fab Christmas tree. Nice looking family.

  5. I totally understand – we moved from Seattle and didn’t get to spend many Christmases with any family. So we had to create our own traditions. I love yours . . . I love salmon! ;D

    You have a beautiful family!

    1. Thanks Amy 🙂 Yes, making new traditions is sometimes not easy but after a couple years, it starts to be the norm 🙂

  6. What a wonderful read and I love reading your family blog posts!

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